SPIRe MA Students Complete Internships

Five students from the UCD School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) have just successfully completed graduate internships as part of their MA programme. Working with employers as diverse as Friends of the Earth, the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), the Office of Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague and Suas Educational Development, these students have pioneered a new innovation in graduate education at UCD SPIRe

In 2011 UCD SPIRe established this trial internship programme for graduate students undertaking MA programmes in Politics, International Relations, Development Studies and Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict. These internships were intended to provide our graduate students with a unique opportunity for professional and academic development and to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. They replace the traditional minor Masters dissertation. The programme was also designed to give UCD SPIRe graduate students a unique comparative advantage in seeking post qualification employment. The Internships themselves are an integral part of the student’s academic programme at UCD, and are assessed as such.

In reflecting on their experience, the students said:

“The internship has not only allowed me to see the practical application of the material I have been studying in university, but also made me eminently more employable.”

“The internship has been a major success not only for the achievement of the majority of the learning objectives, but also for the wider knowledge and assistance it has given me for seeking a career in the future”

“The (internship) experience has been an invaluable one and has helped me to understand the field of politics and international relations a lot better as I got to experience first-hand how things are done before they make the papers.”

For their part, the graduate students’ host employers said:

“The internship scheme was a new departure (for us) … and has set a precedent which will hopefully lead to similar and further collaboration between (us) and UCD”

“(The internship) aimed at providing increased practical experience in the selected field of study, enhancing exposure to career opportunities and expanding the depth and breadth of information available for making career decisions.”

“(The student’s) performance in the role has highlighted for our team the benefits that can be brought by having someone research focused and will influence our decisions when designing future internships.”

UCD SPIRe is proud of the quality and skills of its graduate students. Over the years our graduates have gone on to permanent professional posts with the British, German, Irish, Korean and Turkish Foreign Ministries, the European Commission and European Parliament, the European External Action Service, Interpol, the Asia Development Bank, the IBRD, the World Trade Organisation, the UN New York and UN Geneva and the IMF as well as a wide variety of international private sector employers and Non Governmental Organisations.

If you would like to pursue the possibility of hosting a UCD SPIRe Graduate Intern, or have any questions about the programme, please contact: Professor Ben Tonra, Internship Coordinator, UCD School of Politics and International Relations, UCD, Dublin 4. Tel. + 353 1 716 8195 Email ben.tonra@ucd.ie


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